Baconized Meatballs

Baconzied Meatballs in Dish

Meatballs in gravy are a nice comfort food, so when I saw a recipe for Baconized Meatballs in a hundred-year-old cookbook, I decided to give it a try. Bacon is chopped into small pieces, sauted, and then mixed with ground beef, spices, and other ingredients, and used to make the meatballs.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Baconized Meatballs
Source: Good Housekeeping’s Book of Menus, Recipes, and Household Discoveries (1922)

I was surprised that “meat balls” was written as two words in the old recipe. I updated to the more modern way of spelling and combined into one word: meatballs.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Baconized Meatballs

  • Servings: 4 - 6
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print


4 slices bacon

1 cup cracker crumbs

1/2 cup hot water

1 pound ground beef

1 egg

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon onion salt

1/4 teaspoon celery salt

1/4 teaspoon thyme

1/4 teaspoon sage

1/4 allspice

2 tablespoons flour

1/4 cup cooking oil, shortening, or lard


3 tablespoons flour

2 1/2  cups water

Cut bacon into small pieces, then put in a skillet and sauté until crisp. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl put the cracker crumbs, water, ground beef, egg, salt, pepper onion salt, celery salt, thyme, sage, allspice, and sautéed bacon pieces.  Mix well, and form into meat balls (about 1 inch in diameter).

Put 2 tablespoons of flour on a plate. Roll meatballs in the flour.

Place the cooking oil, shortening, or lard into an overproof skillet and heat until hot.  Drop balls into the hot fat, then gently roll the balls with a fork until all sides are a light brown. Move skillet to oven (preheated to 375° F.), and continue cooking until the meatballs are thoroughly cooked (about 20 minutes).  Remove from oven and put meatballs in serving dish.

Put skillet back on the top of the stove, and reheat using medium heat. To make the gravy, stir the 3 tablespoons flour into the meat juices. Slowly add the water while stirring. Continue stirring until the gravy thickens and is hot and bubbly. Removed from heat, and pour gravy over the meatballs, then serve.

Green Peas Maitre d’Hotel Recipe

Green Peas Maitre d'Hotel

Green peas are a vegetable I often cook when I’m uninspired, so I was intrigued when I came across a recipe in a hundred-year-old cookbook for Green Peas Maitre d’Hotel. It sounded so fancy – and suggested that a boring vegetable could be really special. So I decided to give the recipe a try. The peas are immersed in butter, chopped mint leaves, and lemon juice.

The verdict: Green Peas Maitre d’Hotel were nice with a hint of mint, but the mint taste was very mild and nuanced; and I was a little disappointed that the peas in this recipe seemed very similar to just plain peas.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Green Peas Maitre d'Hotel
Source: Mrs. DeGraf’s Cook Book (1922)

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Green Peas Maitre d'Hotel

  • Servings: 3- 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

2 cups green peas

1 tablespoon mint leaves, chopped

2 tablespoons butter, softened

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

salt and pepper

In a small bowl mix butter, chopped mint, lemon juice, and a dash of salt and pepper.

In the meantime, cook the peas in a small amount of boiling salted water until tender; drain. Then gently stir in the butter mixture. Return to heat until the butter melts, then serve.

Old-Fashioned Asparagus with Orange Sauce

Asparagus with Orange Sauce
I was surprised to recently discover a hundred-year-old recipe for Asparagus with Orange Sauce that called for blood orange. I don’t think that I’ve ever previously seen a recipe for blood orange. The recipe turned out nicely. The sauce had a lovely sunny citrus flavor that nicely complemented the asparagus.

Asparagus with Orange Sauce
Source: American Cookery (April, 1922)
Recipe for Asparagus with Orange Sauce
Source: American Cookery (April, 1922)

Until I read this old recipe, I had never realized that blood oranges were considered a spring citrus fruit a hundred years ago.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Asparagus with Orange Sauce

  • Servings: 4 - 5
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

1 bunch asparagus (about 1 1/2 to 2 pounds)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon paprika

grated rind of 1/2 blood orange

1 tablespoon water

2 tablespoons lemon juicee

Juice of 1/2 blood orange

3 egg yolks

1/2 cup butter, softened

`Wash and trim asparagus. Put in steamer pan. Add water to bottom, and steam for about 5 minutes or until tender.

In the meantime to make the sauce, combine paprika, salt, grated orange rind, lemon juice, and water in a pan.  Bring to a boil using medium heat, boil for several minutes until the volume is reduced by half.  Remove from heat.

In a separate pan beat butter until creamy, then add to the grated orange rind and lemon mixture. Next add the egg yolks, one at a time, while beating into the mixture. Set pan with mixture into a pan with hot water. Continue stirring until the mixture thickens, then stir in the juice from the blood orange. To heat, put on medium heat for a few seconds while continuing to stir. Remove from heat and serve over the asparagus.


Old-Fashioned Marshmallow Strawberry Pudding

Marshmallow Strawberry Pudding

At potluck dinners when I was young, someone always seemed to bring a salad (or maybe it was a dessert) made with whipped topping, fruit, and marshmallows, so I was intrigued by a hundred-year-old recipe for Marshmallow Strawberry Pudding. It looked similar to more modern renditions – but called for real whipped cream.

I tend to think that a dessert made with lots of whipped cream, marshmallows, and sugar may not be particularly healthy, but that said, the Marshmallow Strawberry Pudding was delicious.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Marshmallow Strawberry Pudding
Source: Mrs. DeGraf’s Cook Book (1922)

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Marshmallow Strawberry Pudding

  • Servings: 3 - 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1 cup strawberries, sliced (or if small cut in half) + several additional whole strawberries for garnish

1/3 cup small marshmallows, cut in half

1 cup whipping cream

1/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat cream until stiff peaks form, then gradually add the sugar and vanilla while continuing to beat. Gently fold in the marshmallows and strawberries. Either put in a large bowl to serve or in individual dishes or cups. Garnish with whole strawberries.

Old-Fashioned Open Cheese and Bacon Sandwich

Open Bacon and Cheese Sandwich

While browsing through a hundred-year-old cookbook, I came across a recipe for Open Cheese and Bacon Sandwiches, and decided to give it a try. I was intrigued because this toasted bacon and cheese sandwich recipe called for a topping made of soft cheese (I used pureed cottage cheese) and eggs, plus a little ketchup, paprika and cayenne red pepper which gave the topping a bit of a zing. The cheese and the bacon worked well together, and made a delightful sandwich that was a nice change from the typical grilled cheese and bacon sandwich.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Open Cheese and Bacon Sandwich
Source: For Luncheon and Supper Guests (1922) by Alice Bradley

I decided to use cottage cheese when I made this recipe since it would have been readily available a hundred years ago. I put it through my Foley mill to make it smooth.

I’m not exactly sure what the old cookbook is referring to when it calls for table sauce, but  when I made this recipe, based on the previous suggestions of some readers, I decided to use ketchup.

I skipped the salt since the bacon and cheese already contained salt, and I didn’t want an overly salty sandwich. I cooked the bacon until it was lightly crisped before assembling the sandwich since I thought that it would be too greasy if I put the bacon on top of the cheese without cooking it. I put the sandwich under the broiler to cook.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Open Cheese and Bacon Sandwich

  • Servings: 8 sandwiches
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

8 – 12 slices of bacon (cut in half) (If the slices are wide use 8 slices, if narrow use 12.)

3 eggs, beaten

12 ounces soft cheese (cottage cheese, chevre, feta, Brie, ricotta, etc.), grated or pureed ( I used cottage cheese, and put it through a Foley mill to make smooth.)

1 1/2 teaspoon ketchup

1/2 teaspoon paprika

dash cayenne (red) pepper

8 slices bread

Put the bacon in a skillet; arrange so that each piece is flat. Using medium heat, cook until lightly crisped, while turning frequently. While cooking, periodically press the pieces with  a spatula or back of a spoon to flatten and make thinner. When lightly crisped, remove from the heat and drain on paper towel towels.

In the meantime, put eggs, soft cheese, ketchup paprika, and cayenne pepper in a bowl; stir to combine.

Put the bread slices on a baking sheet, and put under the broiler until lightly browned. Remove from oven/broiler, and flip. Spoon the cheese and egg mixture on the bread, and spread to the edges of each slice. Top with 2 – 3 slices of cooked bacon, and put back under the broiler until the cheese is melted and the bread is lightly browned. Remove from oven/broiler and serve.

Old-fashioned Salmon Croquettes

Salmon Croquettes on Plate

I seldom buy canned salmon, yet when  I recently  flipped through a hundred-year-old cookbook, a recipe for Salmon Croquettes caught my eye, It brought back warm memories of eating various canned salmon dishes when I was a child. Long story short, I bought a can of salmon the next time I went to the store, and soon was making Salmon Coquettes. The crispy croquettes only took a few minutes to make and were a tasty comfort food.

recipe for Salmon Crocuqettes
Source: Cement City Cook Book (1922, compiled by First Baptist Church, Alpena, Michigan)

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Salmon Croquettes

  • Servings: 4 - 6
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

1 can salmon (14.75 oz.), flaked

1 tablespoon, butter, melted

2 hard-boiled egg yolks, mashed

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 slice bread, torn into small pieces to make crumbs

1/2 teaspoon anchovy sauce

dashes of salt, pepper, and nutmeg

1 egg, beaten

approximately 3/4 cup cracker crumbs (I put saltine crackers in a Ziplock bag and rolled with a rolling pin to make crumbs.)

lard, shortening, or cooking oil

Put salmon into a mixing bowl. Add melted butter, mashed hard-boiled egg yolks, lemon juice, bread crumbs, anchovy sauce, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Shape into small balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. (If the mixture is too juicy to make balls, add additional bread crumbs.)

Put the beaten egg in a bowl. In another bowl put the cracker crumbs. Roll the salmon balls in the egg and then in the cracker crumbs.

Put  lard, shortening, or cooking oil in skillet and heat until hot using medium heat.  (It should be about 1/2 inch deep.) Add salmon balls. When the bottom of the balls have lightly browned (about 1 1/2 – 2 minutes), gently roll to brown the other sides.  Remove from skillet and drain on paper towels, then serve.

Old-fasioned Cabbage with Caraway Seeds

I recently found a hundred-year-old recipe for Cabbage with Caraway Seeds. It has an old-fashioned goodness, and makes a lovely side dish.

Here’s the original recipe:

recipe for Cabbage with Caraway Seeds
Source; Good Housekeeping’s Book of Menus, Recipes, and Household Discoveries (1922)

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

  • Servings: 4 - 5
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

1 pound cabbage (about 1/2 of a medium cabbage), shredded

1/2 small onion, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon caraway seeds

1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons fat (I used butter.)

1/4 cup vinegar

Put cabbage, onion, salt, pepper, caraway seeds, butter and water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil using medium heat, then reduce heat and simmer until the cabbage is tender; stir frequently. If needed, add additional water. After the cabbage is soft (about 30 minutes), add the vinegar and cook an additional 5 minutes.